By Ann Young 2 days ago Software Reviews
Make a photograph B&W using one of these black and white apps.
When talking about black and white apps, we can subdivide them into several separate types: apps that transform a color photograph into a black-and-white one and the apps that take a photo in black and white (replacing the standard camera).
I’ve reviewed all types of black and white photo apps and made a sample B&W image for each app for you to understand the capabilities of each option better.
Lightroom Mobile App is a universal black and white editing app. It’s marketed not only as a powerful image editor but also as a great camera app with RAW format support.
Speaking of the camera, the filter section has two available black-and-white filters: flat and high-contrast. While Flat makes your image softer and brighter, High-Contrast adds a lot of shadows, decreasing the exposure of the shot.
The Flat filter is a good choice for newborn portraits, while High-Contrast is the better option for highlighting the mood of a person in the shot or to show cold, rainy weather.
Once you’ve opened it as a black and white photo editor app, you’ll see a lot of tools for making your photo B&W. By going to the “profiles” section, you can make color photos monochrome. It’s an automatic mode so it won’t be as efficient as the next method since manual color adjustments are what you actually need.
By going to the “Color” section, you can make precise adjustments to the temperature, tone, vibrancy, and saturation, while also mixing colors, giving your photo a more refined, deeper look.
One of the last, yet still very effective methods, is to use premade filters. The base version of Lightroom offers 10 different filters: landscape, contrast, dimmed, infrared, selenium, etc.
However, you can always increase that number by added Free Lightroom Black and White Presets. All of that makes it obvious why many photographers consider Lightroom to be the best black and white photo editor.
Lenka is one of the most popular black and white photo apps for iOS and for a very good reason: it’s very simple to use and gives you in-depth control over the photos with minimum effort. The application doesn’t have an editor. Instead, it has 4 sliders for editing your image in real-time: brightness, focal length (perfect for adjusting macro shots), cold and warm temperature tones, and shadows.
You can use either manual or auto-focusing, the preview screen during shooting, and switch between full-frame and square formats by simply pressing and holding on any part of the screen. Lenka doesn’t support flash photography (you can only use the included LED as a permanent light source).
Even though the Lenka app doesn’t offer as much technical control as other applications, it’s perfect for handling the maximization of the black-and-white tonal range of your iPhone. Most images usually have very bright white and deep black colors, and a wide range of mid-tones, given it has correct exposure.
As for drawbacks, I’ve noticed that this black and white editing app doesn’t recognize iPhone X’s full-screen mode. Also, the app doesn’t appear in the “Settings” > “Privacy” menu, which is why the GPS location isn’t saved in the metadata.
Monokrom is a simple black and white photo app for Android and iOS that allows you to create unique filters, serving as the perfect tool for achieving the exact B&W tones you need.
Instead of using a premade set of color filters, Monokrom uses touchscreen gestures for adjusting brightness, contrast, tone ranges, color filters, grain, and vignettes.
In practice, it works like this: you hover the target icon over parts of the photo until you’re satisfied with the result. This black and white filter app will register that color and use it to make the image B&W.
Voila, your filter is ready. Basically, this method makes all of your filters unique and different from the ones you usually see.
The only real problem of this app is that it’s unable to save presets that would allow you to quickly recreate the look you liked. The application doesn’t work with RAW files, but saves all EXIF data in your files, including geotags.
Snapseed is a free black white photo editor app that you can use for portrait and urban photography. The app doesn’t have a camera, but it allows you to edit photos with great precision by applying filters, adjusting brightness and exposure, removing unwanted objects from the shot, etc.
This black and white photo app for Android and iOS features about 10 free black-and-white filters, but you can also manually create them by changing some settings and then saving them as a preset that’s ready to be applied to other photographs.
The key feature that distinguishes Snapseed from other black and white apps is the capability to use different filters (red, yellow, orange, blue, green, and white). These filters were created to imitate glass filters on a DSLR camera, which, in change, adjust the tonal contrast of the black and white image.
To understand how it works, pick a yellow or red filter, and if you’re taking photos of a tulip field in Holland, all the yellow/red elements will become bright white. The filter will also darken other tones, creating a high-contrast look.
Another app to make photos black and white with color that will replace your standard camera is Provoke Camera. The application was developed with the B&W style in mind that was very popular among photographers like Yutaka Takanashi and Takuma Nakahira in the ‘60-‘80s.
It has a simple and minimalistic design for taking exclusively black and white photographs.
Once you’ve launched this black and white film app, you can choose one of the six black-and-white film filters at the bottom of the screen. Each one is applied in real-time so you can always experiment and try different styles for each shot before taking it.
To imitate the film effect more accurately, each filter is a bit grainy and blurry (depending on your choice). You can also pick between shooting in conventional JPEG or the higher quality TIFF format.
In addition to all the other functions, Provoke Camera allows you to import photos from Camera Roll and apply any of the “Provoke” effects to transform it into a black-and-white image.
Oggl and Hipstamatic, which I’ll also review below, were created by one developer, so do not be surprised that they are very similar. This black and white app has a large number of filters that are configured depending on the type of lens, film and flash.
The most important feature is that Oggl allows you to change the lens and film settings even in finished photos. No matter which film and lens combination you use to take photos. With Oggl you can go back and try other combinations to see what you like the most, and then save the final image in your camera.
As for the useful functions, I can name the ability to set individual focus points and exposure, which is very convenient for complex frames. You can save the final settings as a preset and use them later.
Also, Oggl black and white photo app offers a subscription variant, implying you get access to all available filters for an annual fee (even new ones as they are released).
If you carefully read the description of above-mentioned Provoke Camera, you can notice a certain similarity with Hipstamatic. In this app, you can also choose one of the available black and white styles. Hipstamatic imitates blurry, highly vignetted, desaturated colors typical for pictures taken in the 1960s, as well as other retro effects, for instance, lomo.
However, there is one distinctive feature - filters are divided into three categories: lens type, film type and flash type. When you take pictures, you choose which lens, film, and flash you want to use. Different combinations of lens, film, and flash will result in different effects in the final image.
You can create several presets so that you can combine them later or conveniently switch between ready-made camera settings.
One of the drawbacks of this black and white editing app is that you cannot apply effects to photos that were already in your Camera Roll before you installed Hipstamatic. By the way, this feature is available in the older version - Oggl.
Hypocam allows you to take a monochrome picture from start to finish, while controlling shooting in real-time. The application offers many creative tools specifically for black and white photography.
One of the best features of this black and white photo editor app is the ability to control exposure and color tone in the real time. This allows you to accurately set the black and white tone you really need.
As for the filters, there are three black and white ones preinstalled. However, you can purchase a paid version where the list is bigger.
Among interesting add-ons, I can name a news feed done in the style of social networks. It consists of photo news presented as new black and white photos that can inspire you.
Dramatic Black & White application offers a simple learning curve and customizable user interface. You can find many photo fixing options and a huge variety of ready-made, professional filters. Regardless of whether you prefer a quiet shade of gray or high contrast, this black and white app can offer you more than filters than you actually need.
The application offers a number of easy-to-use, customizable controls for contrast, texture and light, divided into three main styles: classic black and white, infrared modern photography and dramatic black and white high-definition images. Among all other tools, you will probably like the Ellipse tool, which allows you to direct the light source to any object in your scene.
A huge drawback of this black and white filter app is the unstable work. Users complain about the constant crashes, especially when trying to load another photo.
Blackcam is a simple and intuitive black and white app that allows you to use various conversion and color filters, as well as add simulated film grains, black vignetting and EXIF data.
Here you can find such popular black and white filters as Vintage, Shadow, Classic, Contrast and many more. If you are looking for more features, there are also additionally downloadable presets that can be purchased for an extra fee.
You can get accurate image editing results with contrast, brightness and exposure sliders. You can also add monochrome filters for color photographs in your Camera Roll.
The biggest drawback is very slow work. This is really the slowest black and white photo app among all that I have tested. This does not mean that my smartphone is just too old. I tested all applications on my iPhone XR. Also, I don’t understand why the Android version is available for free and iOS users need to pay $1.99.